Agar's agenda - what will be on the Leeds Rhinos coach's mind this week?

Faltering Leeds Rhinos have gone from five straight wins and top of the table top two successive defeats, leaving them sixth in the Betfred Super League table.

Monday, 17th August 2020, 5:00 pm

With the sixth round of the Coral Challenge Cup scheduled for this weekend, Rhinos have no fixture until a clash with in-form Salford Red Devils at Warrington on Saturday, August 29.

There is some hard work to be done before then, so what could be on coach Richard Agar’s agenda this week?

1. The urgent emphasis before Leeds’ loss to Wigan Warriors was on effort, which was lacking the week before against St Helens. They weren’t short in that department last weekend, but it takes more than effort to win games. Rhinos have been making too many errors since their return from the coronavirus shutdown and inevitably, under the new rules, mistakes will be punished. Leeds need to correct that to give themselves a chance of building pressure and then doing something with it when they do mount a sustained attack.

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Tom Briscoe celebrates Rhinos' first try in 100 minutes of rugby. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

2. Rhinos have scored two tries in their last 160 minutes of rugby and managed only one in more than an hour against Huddersfield Giants, before their late match-winning rally. They need to be more clinical. Team changes with a new hooker, makeshift full-back and young rookie at stand-off - haven’t helped and Luke Gale is having to do too much, but more direction on attack is required. As Agar said after Sunday’s game, teams like Wigan don’t provide many opportunities, so they have to be taken when they come.

3. Agar has proved he is willing to make big decisions. Dropping Ava Seumanufagai was one of those, but teenage prop Tom Holroyd deserved a chance and didn‘t let his side down. Giving him more game time will be a future aim.

4. Jack Walker hasn’t played since suffering a foot injury in March, but could be available for the Salford game. Ash Handley is playing well, but Leeds need their first-choice full-back in the team.

5. Agar will have been relatively pleased with Bodene Thompson’s debut. The second-rower was solid and will get better with more matches.

Ava Seumanufagai, pictured scoring against Warrington in February, was dropped for the meeting with Wigan. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

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Jack Walker is getting closer to a return from injury. Picture by Steve Riding.

Laura Collins